Hardwood Install Question

brandeischicJuly 27, 2011

I've been getting quotes for hardwood floor installations, and not a single contractor will remove the baseboards for the installs, and they don't use quarter rounds. They say they just install them flush to the baseboards.

My understanding is that you either have to remove the baseboards for the install, or you install quarter rounds to deal with the wood expanding/contracting throughout the year, and that without doing either it is highly likely that someone would experience problems with their floor at some point.

The people that I've spoken to are all very highly rated on Angie's list, so people seem to be happy with the work.

Can anyone comment? Thanks!

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If they are stating that they install them tight to the baseboards...then tell Angie's list to drop dead because you cant install the wood tight and flush to the baseboard. Expansion is needed and how do they plan to hide the expansion gap. Also, are they planning to take moisture readings and are they monitoring humidity. Their statements to you are frustrating to say the least. Go to a premier contractor in the area and ask them who they recommend. none of these guys will be mentioned. A good wood installer will always offer a 1/4 round install. most will pull baseboard for a fee, unless the base is a complicated combination of trim pieces or painted so much that they are attached mightily to the wall or plaster sometimes engulfing the base itself. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 10:59PM
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Thanks Floortech, I think you are right. I'm now emailing around asking how they do the installations before even taking the time to have them come for estimates.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 7:51AM
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The national standard certainly is to leave an expansion gap at all vertical obstructions for a hardwood floor (cf. NWFA guidelines). An expansion space is required by most if not all wood flooring manufacturers. This is all pretty straight forward to this point, but that is not the whole story. There are regions where installation practices vary from the national standard. Net fitting is the most common practice in some regions where quarter round is not preferred. You might wonder why this does not result in more failures. These geographical areas include sections that have a significant moisture change with the seasons. On the other hand if you want quarter round you should be able to have it even if it is not the local practice.
As the great majority of wood flooring complaints involve moisture issues. It is prudent to hire an installer who measures the moisture content in the flooring and matches it to your house.
Looking at installation standards it is interesting to note that they have changed over time. This seems to be in part because not all standards have been written using sound wood science and building engineering calculations. (Building Science Corporation in Massachusetts has free information online on the topic of moisture movement in buildings and designing floor systems.)
The link below has a posting with hints on helping to choose a wood flooring professional.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wood Professional

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 9:42AM
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I just had engineered wood installed (finished yesterday, and the not only took of the baseboards, but also undercut the brick fireplace to get a nice finish. When I didn't like how dinged my baseboards looked (two carpet installations, pets, etc.) he agreed to cut new ones if I bought them, and caulked them, etc. No extra charge. Aside from the expansion thing, what your people offered would just not look good.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 4:47PM
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Removing the baseboards would be an added cost. No one will do it for free but they should ask you if you want it included. If your base is high profile I would not remove it but if it is your standard 3 1/2" I would remove it but you must ask them to include it in the price. Seems there are a lot of flooring companies that will lay the floor and positively nothing else. It is up to you to get someone to install the base-shoe. That is a lousy company policy in my opinion.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 7:17AM
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I agree with don92's comment "Seems there are a lot of flooring companies that will lay the floor and positively nothing else. It is up to you to get someone to install the base-shoe. That is a lousy company policy in my opinion."

Certainly a consumer should pay for added extras, but a skilled floor installer should be able and willing to fit and install new base and shoe. However...the new EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting rules may be having a negative effect on a floor company's willingness to get involved with anything but installing the flooring.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 10:59AM
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